A SCHEME has been launched to encourage people who shop online to buy from local businesses.

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) have gifted ShopAppy to retailers for 12 months, to help boost trade in the county.

Shops will be given the app free of charge for 12 months, and customers can pick orders up from the shop or from a collection point.

Councillor Marcus Kravis, executive member for economic development, said: “We are always thinking of ways to support our local shops and businesses and this is more important than ever as we begin the economic recovery from coronavirus.

“ShopAppy is ideal for people who are not able to pop to the high street or who prefer to shop online. It’s a really easy-to-use system that allows shop-keepers to sign up and upload their products in minutes, and provides a simple check-out for customers.

“I’d like to think it gives our local economy another way to improve sales and attract more customers in the changing marketplace. I hope local traders will sign up and residents across the district and beyond will support them.”

Businesses that register will be allocated a community officer to assist and support with loading products and promotion.

The hospitality and events sector as well as community organisations can also use the platform to take bookings or stage online activities, sales or virtual events.

The service was launched in 2916 but Dr Jackie Mulligan.

Dr Mulligan said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Somerset West and Taunton Council on this first launch of the ShopAppy.com platform in the county.

“With our partnership with Visa helping us provide support to more small businesses across the UK, we are certain that this will provide a real and tangible benefit to local businesses and the community.”

To sign up, visit https://shopappy.com/vendor/